Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Mating Slinkys 09-09-2007 12:26 PM

This is a general question, specifically about Angels... I wasn't sure where to put it, so i plumped for here, mods please feel free to move it if you feel appropriate!

It's a question about stunting, which I believe to be the artificial, and unhealthy, reduction of a fishes growth by being kept in a tank that is too small (often misrepresented by the myth that a fish will "grow to the size of it's tank...")

My question is about what causes it; is it simply the lack of space or the poor water quality that may well occur when a fish is kept in a tank that is too small? Also, how soon it can affect fish growth?

I ask, because I have 2 angel fish who are about to move into their third (and hopefully final) home. When I bought them I was unaware of their potential size, being a newbie with no knowledge, and had them in a 10g for about 2 months. They were about 1" when I got them, and I moved them into a 35g when they got to about 2-2.5" across. They have been in the 35g for about 5 months now, and are about 4-5" across, and are soon to be moved into the new 52g, which I hope will suffice them for the rest of their days. (It is 40"W x 20"H x 15"D, approx)

I have always been careful to maintain very good water quality with frequent water changes and the purchase of a bigger filter, and they have never appeared to suffer from illness or any untoward conditions. In fact they have always been the centrepiece of the aquarium with a lovely orange glow!

So, given they have been kept in a tank that is too small for full grown angels, but moved whenever possible to a larger home is it likely that i have stunted the growth of these fish, or will they continue to grow in thir new home, becoming the large and beautiful specimens i hope for?

I ask this mainly because I have been often rebuked (usually politely) for keeping fish in a tank that is too small for their full size growth. I consider myself a responsible fishkeeper and had always planned to upgrade to a larger size as and when I needed to (once, of course, I learnt enough about fish to know ths was needed) putting money aside for the eventuality. I wasn't sure if the criticism was due to the fact that I was actually harming the fish during them being kept in the smaller tanks when they themselves were small, or if folks just didn't know whether I would actually get larger tanks for them, and were erring on the side of caution.

Cheers, folks, I'd just like to know your opinions on this subject!

MegK 09-09-2007 12:45 PM

isnt 35 gallons fine for two angel fish? they need ten gallons each.

Lupin 09-09-2007 05:41 PM


Originally Posted by MegK
isnt 35 gallons fine for two angel fish? they need ten gallons each.

Yes, it is, Meg although usually the larger the tank, the better for the fish. Excessive levels of nitrates and cramped space are the often main issues for stunting of fish growth. Your fish will continue to grow as long as you feed it frequently (without the risk of overfeeding), frequently change the water and pave more space as they grow otherwise they'll end up being stunted. Stunted fish usually have eyes disproportionate to their bodies. Discus, severums and balas are noted for this.

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